Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hail to the Thief
Hail to the Thief, "(or, The Gloaming.)" as it is subtitled, is Radiohead's sixth studio album, released on June 9, 2003 in the UK and June 10 in North America. After two albums that mined a distinctive groove, with heavily processed vocals and few guitars, Hail to the Thief draws its ideas from every era of the band's existence, coupled with a new found confidence and live energy- the bulk of the record was recorded in two weeks in Los Angeles. The album was released on Parlophone and produced by Nigel Godrich (who has worked with Radiohead on four previous releases).
Given the controversial nature of Radiohead's post-OK Computer work, fan and critical reaction was typically mixed but tended towards the ecstatic: Neil McCormick, writing in the Daily Telegraph, called it "Radiohead firing on all cylinders, a major work by major artists at the height of their powers" and the record performed typically well in magazine's end-of-year polls. Unswayed, the NME's James Oldham saw it as "a good rather than great record" and Alexis Petridis of The Guardian called it "neither startlingly different and fresh nor packed with the sort of anthemic songs that once made them the world's biggest band".
The title of the album is considerered by some to be a play on "Hail to the Chief," a march played to announce the arrival of the President of the United States and a reference to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election. The pun was first used by the band during their Christmas 2002 webcast but in the June 2003 issue of Spin Magazine Yorke was quoted as saying ""If the motivation for naming our album had been based solely on the U.S. election, I'd find that to be pretty shallow.""
An interesting bit of trivia about this album is that an unfinished version of it was apparently stolen, presumably from the recording studio where they were working, and uploaded to the Internet several weeks before it was officially released (later on a finished version made it on to the internet aproximatly a week before the release). It was by no means the first album that suffered this fate, but it was one of the first by a major artist. Another was Amnesiac in 2001, also by Radiohead.
- [03:19] " 2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm.) "
- [04:19] " Sit down. Stand up. (Snakes & Ladders.) "
- [04:18] " Sail to the Moon. (Brush the Cobwebs out of the Sky.) "
- [05:22] " Backdrifts. (Honeymoon is Over.) "
- [03:21] " Go to Sleep. (Little Man being Erased.) "
- [04:29] " Where I End and You Begin. (The Sky is Falling in.) "
- [04:56] " We suck Young Blood. (Your Time is up.) "
- [03:32] " The Gloaming. (Softly Open our Mouths in the Cold.) "
- [05:23] " There there. (The Boney King of Nowhere.) "
- [01:59] " I will. (No man's Land.) "
- [04:57] " A Punch Up at a Wedding. (No no no no no no no no.) "
- [03:52] " Myxomatosis. (Judge, Jury & Executioner.) "
- [03:21] " Scatterbrain. (As Dead as Leaves.) "
- [03:23] " A Wolf at the Door. (It Girl. Rag Doll.) "
Note: the periods are officially part of the titles. Just like the album's title, each track receives a parenthetical subtitle. The lyrics in the booklet use only the parenthetical subtitles, as if they were the only real ones.
The credits in the liner notes for Hail to the Thief indicate:
- Thom Yorke - vocals, guitar, piano, laptop
- Jonny Greenwood - guitar, analogue systems, ondes martenot, laptop, toy piano, glockenspiel
- Ed O'Brien - guitar, vocals, effects
- Colin Greenwood - bass, string synth, sampler
- Phil Selway - drums, percussion
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